Qatar have practically said goodbye to their own World Cup, regularly beaten by an efficient if not brilliant Senegal. For the small Gulf country to offer itself other great football thrills, it will therefore have to wait until it organizes a new World Cup in a few years.


Qatar 1-3 Senegal

Goals: Muntari (78e) for Al-Annabis // Dia (41e), Diedhiou (48e) and Dieng (84e) for the Lions of Teranga

Mohammed Muntari was born in Ghana. However, it is in Qatar that he could claim to be decorated. The substitute striker had just replaced captain Al-Haydos to bring the last hopes of the Qatari team to 0-2. Mission successful: the slender number 9 rose above Khalidou Koulibaly to place a header that Edouard Mendy could not push back this time. Muntari will therefore forever remain this nation’s leading scorer in the World Cup. On the other hand, this goal will not be enough to return a part that the host country had attacked with courage and envy. Senegal, much more efficient in both surfaces, erased their inaugural loss against the Netherlands and returned to the race for qualification.

Khoukhi and Qatar for tea

FIFA may have done Qatar a favor by granting it the organization of the 2022 World Cup. On the ground, however, no one is giving it a gift. Finally relieved of the immense pressure that weighed on their shoulders against Ecuador in the opening (0-2) and pushed by a rediscovered public, Al Annabis start their second (and penultimate) match with fewer complexes. We surprise the defense trying to relaunch properly on the ground, combinations in the middle, overcoming function with the ground-air strikes of the Hassan tank or even the risk-taking of the offensive trio Afif-Ali-Al Haydos. Despite everything, these patterns remain stereotyped, only too rarely destabilizing the Senegalese. Worse, these fine intentions are shattered at the slightest individual error. Already not reassured by its goalkeeper n°2 Meeshaal Barsham, in difficulty in the air or author of an involuntary flip-flap, the Qatari defense offers the opener on a plateau to the Senegalese. An innocuous center from Krépin Diatta remains blocked in the legs of Boualem Khoukhi, allowing Boulaye Dia to grab the ball and put his Lions back in the right direction (0-1, 41e). A welcome boost for the African champions: between the sterile possession, the politeness that Diédhiou and Dia return to each other or the lack of promptness of Ismaïla Sarr, they had had a hard time showing themselves dangerous, apart from the long shots from Gana Gueye in the 24the minute. The Gaindes de Cissé could even have chased the score if Mr. Lahoz had yielded to the whims of Akram Afif, victim of the muscular return of Ismaïla Sarr in the box and insistently asking for a penalty (33e). Still no gift.

On the restart, the Qatari kop melted like snow in the sun, as did the hopes of qualification. And for good reason: Famara Diédhiou cuts Jakobs’ corner at the near post and widens the gap (0-2, 48e). The Garnets do not lay down their arms, however: Afif continues to prove that he has sparks in his legs, Hassan believes he can catch the frame with a heavy strike (59e), and Almoez Ali lacks the power to really worry Edouard Mendy (63e). Chelsea’s substitute goalkeeper was visibly determined to repair his Monday dumplings, rewarding his team with a magnificent reflex save in front of Mohamad (67e). Qatar out ? Not so fast: launched by a cross from Hassan, the piston Mohamad heals his center and finds the head of Mohammed Muntari, launched four minutes earlier (1-2, 78e). The start of an unlikely reassembled ? Not when the state to which we belong holds PSG, nor when, opposite, the opponent has the ability to reassure themselves so quickly. On a pass from player to follow Iliman Ndiaye, incoming Bamba Dieng brings a new mattress to the Lions (1-3, 84e). End of construction: Qatar is not yet mathematically eliminated, but it risks following the rest of the competition in boxes.

Qatar (5-3-2): Barsham – Mohamad, Pedro Miguel (Waad, 83e), Khoukhi, Hassan, Ahmed (Salman, 83e) – Boudiaf (Hatem, 69e), Madibo, Al-Haydos (Muntari, 74e) – Ali, Afif. Coach: Felix Sanchez Bas.

Senegal (4-4-2): E. Mendy – Sabaly, Koulibaly, Diallo, Jakobs (P. Cissé, 64e) – I. Sarr (Ndiaye, 74e), N. Mendy (P. Sarr, 64e), I. Gueye, Diatta (Ciss, 64e) – Diedhiou (Bamba, 74e), Dia. Coach: Aliou Cisse.

By Mathieu Rollinger, at Al-Thumama Stadium


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Peggy McColl

Mentor l NY Times Bestselling Author. Hi, I'm Peggy McColl, and I'm here to deliver a positive message to you!

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